News & Analysis

  1. press-release

    Google’s search results will soon have a ‘buy’ button

    Google has confirmed that it will soon introduce a button that allows consumers to purchase goods directly from its search results page. The Wall Street Journal reports that the button will first debut on mobile, and is meant to facilitate the purchase of items found via Google’s advertisements. [Source: WSJ]
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  3. elsewhere

    FCC targets robocalls

    The Federal Communications Commission has introduced a proposal that would allow consumers to avoid the robocalls, text messages, and other unsolicited communications that nag them throughout the day. It would also allow phone companies to build technologies that can automatically filter out these irritating missives for their customers. [Source: The Los Angeles Times]
  4. buzzfeed

    With Buzzfeed announcing IPO plans and Comcast interested in Vox, let the dystopian future of media begin

    Today, Buzzfeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti announced plans to take his cat listicle mega-company public. The fact that he made this announcement at a conference hosted by a tech blog, which was yesterday acquired by a larger media company that may soon be acquired by Comcast, is no coincidence. The new media landscape is shaking out fast and the losers are getting absorbed while the big winners are getting bigger — and more compromised by the platforms, investors, and telecoms that may…
  5. candy

    Recon at the Rancho: Crashing the Code conference, day one

    “The companies I admire are the companies that pursue their own mission not the mission of their parent company. Build for the long term. Everything we’ve built would be undermined by being acquired.” — Airbnb’s Brian Chesky in conversation with Vox Media’s Kara Swisher on stage at the Code Conference It is decidedly more fun to attend tech conferences when you are not invited. I learned this yesterday when I spirited down from San Francisco to the Terrenea Rancho Palos Verdes outside LA, and…
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  7. meeker-trends

    10 things Mary Meeker thinks you need to know about Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report

    It’s hard to think of a more talked-about slideshow than Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report. The document is a nice way for tech journalists to learn more about their beats or to confirm hunches based on all the conversations they had throughout the year that is, without having to worry about “numbers” or “math” themselves. But it’s also a total bore. There are countless images that look like a nerd’s dream board, or the kind of nonsense Shingy doodles on an…
  8. social media_uprising

    In a potential dystopian nightmare, Virgin Pulse gets $92M to help employers promote a healthy workforce

    Based in the suburbs of Boston, Virgin Pulse has long been an odd little outpost of Richard Branson’s vast Virgin Group that includes everything from airlines to record labels to mobile phone networks to space tourism. Today, Virgin Pulse’s health and well-being platform built for corporate enterprises announced that it has received $92 million in new funding from Insight Venture Partners and, appropriately, its existing investor Virgin Group. The company’s products gamify health tracking — using information from fitness trackers and manually…
  9. vox-recode-bankoff,-swisher,-mossberg

    Kara Swisher has lost.

    It seems like a million years ago that Kara Swisher and Michael Arrington would spend their days taking shots at each other: Kara calling Mike “Yertle the Turtle” — a reference no one really understood — and complaining to any reporter who’d listen that he was unforgivably conflicted due to his investments in Internet giants Dogster and Seesmic. It seems even longer ago that I would sit in Mike’s office at TechCrunch listening to him gloat about how,…
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  11. Uber

    Florida man undermines Uber’s claim that drivers aren’t employees

    Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity has decided that an Uber driver is eligible for unemployment because he was, despite Uber’s claim that drivers are independent contractors, previously employed by the ride-hailing startup. Much of the so-called sharing economy (which doesn’t really exist) is based on the idea that people who find work through a platform like Uber or TaskRabbit are independent contractors who shouldn’t be considered legitimate employees. Why? Because it’s cheaper. Having a bunch of…
  12. pando-inside-baseball

    Comcast mulls Vox Media acquisition

    Comcast’s interest in buying Vox Media, which was thought to have died down earlier this year, is reportedly rising again. The company previously invested in Vox — and Recode, the tech news site Vox acquired yesterday — and is now said to be mulling an outright acquisition of the media startup. [Source: Quartz]
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  14. home

    Are we too nice when a company fails? Out of money and fresh ideas, Homejoy and CustomMade find cushy landings

      Acquisitions. Acqui-hires. Intellectual property grabs. All are considerably better options for a struggling startup than the admission of failure — and often the scrutiny attached — when a company completely shuts down operations. If you’ve ever had chance to be around an entrepreneur in the the last days or months of a company’s existence, you will probably come to two realizations. One, almost everything she will tell you about the health of her company, and the possible interest from outside parties, is bullshit.…
  15. Overheard

    Elizabeth Warren defends Uber-ization of labor

    Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator denounced by some as a “far-left” socialist radical, came out in support of the “Uber-ization” of the labor force. “We’re not going to stop tech so that lots of people will work,” Sen. Warren said at yesterday’s Code Conference. “That’s like saying, ‘Let’s get rid of heavy equipment and let people dig with a spoon.'” [Source: re/code]
  16. Income tax

    “Organized crime syndicates” steal information from the IRS about 100,000 taxpayers

    It hasn’t been a good year for taxpayers. First there were the problems with TurboTax, which started with fraudulent claims and eventually led to phishing campaigns meant to steal information from people who thought they might have been affected by those fraudsters. Now there’s the news that the Social Security numbers, dates of birth, street addresses, and other information of 100,000 people were compromised by attackers who abused the “Get Transcript” feature available on…
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  18. Overheard

    “Ulbricht’s conviction is the first of its kind, and his sentencing is being closely watched. The Court thus has an opportunity to send a clear message to anyone tempted to follow his example that the operation of these illegal enterprises comes with severe consequences.”

    — Prosecutors in the Silk Road trial

  19. strictly-business

    Flipboard’s had talks with Google, Yahoo

    Hot on the news that Twitter considered acquiring Flipboard earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reports that the curate-your-own-magazine company has also had talks with Yahoo and Google, making it seem likely that it will be acquired by one company or another sooner rather than later. [Source: WSJ]
  20. elsewhere

    A text message can crash your iPhone

    Feel like being an asshole? Well now you can disable someone’s iPhone — or at least lock them out of the Messages application — by sending them a malicious text. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and judging by the glee shown by people on Twitter, the bug will be abused for a while. [Source: The Guardian]
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The Week in Review